Slowly peeling back the foil, all while carefully pressing a firm grip to the top of the cage. Holding the base of the bottle securely in the other hand. Slightly tilting the exquisite bottle forward, and untwisting the metal base of the wire cage that locks the cork into place. Carefully beginning to twist the base of the bottle while pulling the cork away, slowly let out the tiny amount of pressurized air with next to no sound. Immediately, life begins to fill the bottle as countless bubbles form while the wine reacts to exposure to the air. The art of wine tasting in Napa Valley, yet alone in a French château, is beautiful and the appreciation that goes into each bottle is undeniable.
Your wine educator delicately pours the perfect amount of elegantly crafted wine into your tasting glass. They passionately explain the history, the region, tasting notes and aromas of the sparkling wine. You learn how the mêthode traditionelle for sparkling wines has been the cornerstone of the winery since its inception in 1987. Impressively, the winery boasts six estate vineyards in the Carneros region that is home to their four-hundred acres of vineyards. This is where the fruit is used is produced for all of their wines. It is not often you can wine taste in a French château in Napa Valley with fruit from their estate vineyards.
Not only is the drive up to the French château memorable, the way it is nestled into the rolling hills that connect Sonoma County to Napa Valley, is truly breathtaking when seeing for the first time. Suddenly, you are enchanted by the architecture, modeled after the 18th century Château de la Marquetterie which is currently the house of Champagne Tattinger in Champagne, France. The views from the grand staircases show off the rolling hills of vineyards in the distance.
You probably took a few photos and videos as you made your way up the stairs. Once you reach the peak you are overcome by the charm of this winery and are kindly welcomed by the staff team members. After you check into your reservation, you are whisked away to your table. Perhaps it is located in the stunning glass pavilion, where grand fireplaces and crystal chandeliers adorn the garden conservatory. The garden conservatory was recently designed a few years ago to allow guests to enjoy the beauty and views of outside the estate all while experience a wine tasting in a chic and elegant tasting room. With three of the walls being full glass panels, light permeates through the space and brightens the entire room.
The winery and experience I am describing? It is of course that of the one and only Domaine Carneros in the Carneros appellation in Napa Valley. Every time I drive by the stunning Domaine Carneros, I am instantly reminded how Northern California wine country is truly extraordinary. It is as if all of the beauty of architecture, french-style winemaking, lively tasting room ambiance, high-quality tasting experiences, picturesque gardens and grounds, are wrapped into one place. While there are a countless number of incredible wineries based in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, there is only one hillside French château along Highway 12 that connects the two wine regions.
Whether you are looking to celebrate a special occasion, wine taste with friends or your special loved one, Domaine Carneros has an experience for you. Always a great place to plan a wine tasting and of course to capture your next Instagram photo with the views. The perfect opportunity to wine taste in a French château in Napa Valley!
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Written by Sara Biondi – @bordeaux.blonde
Photos by Maryssa Souza – @maryssasouzaphoto